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2016 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Clayton Edsall and Skeets Oak Peppy.

2016 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Clayton Edsall and Skeets Oak Peppy.

Primo Morales photo

FORT WORTH, Texas — With two big scores in four tough events, Clayton Edsall of Oakdale earned the title of World’s Greatest Horseman during the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions event held Feb. 12-20 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center.

Riding his own gelding, Skeets Oak Peppy, Edsall scored a 221 to lead the herd work to set his winning pace.

“We were fortunate to up earlier (in the draw), and there were still some cattle we had picked out,” he said. “Some of them got cut. Doug (Williamson), right before me, cut pretty much my whole list, so we went with some backups. Kelby (Phillips) had a good cow picked out, and it all worked out.”
The NRCHA’s World’s Greatest Horseman competition requires the same horse-and-rider combo to compete in four events: herd work, reined work, steer stopping, and fence work.

“In the reined work, he was solid,” Clayton said of “Sly.” “He was a tick better in the prelims. He let me do all the maneuvers and run pretty honest.”

Ten teams qualified to return to the finals, a standing-room-only affair at the John Justin Arena. They placed fifth .

A solid 218 in steer stopping kept Clayton in the overall contest, but he needed a top score in fence work to win.

“I knew that being up second (in the draw), I was going to have to go with as much cow as I could possibly go with,” he said. “That would make (the other riders) have to go with a little more cow than they were comfortable with. Luckily, the judges didn’t make me work the first cow I drew. The second one was a little better, so we went on with it.”
He marked a 225.

“For so long, a guy wants something, and then you realize you just need to do the best you can,” Clayton said. “If it’s your day, it’s your day.”
Skeets Oak Peppy is a 2007 sorrel gelding by Skeets Peppy and out of Oak Ill Be by Ill Be Smart. Bred by Vaughn Zimmerman of Missouri, he was purchased by Clayton as a yearling.

“I didn’t school on him in (the arena) last night,” Clayton said. “I tried to keep him as fresh as I could.”

The gelding has won $103,152 in NRCHA competition. His World’s Greatest Horseman earnings will boost the total by $25,000.

“He’s a big character at home,” Clayton said. “He unties himself. He’s funny. He’s got a big motor and likes to be ridden. He doesn’t need to be trained on a bunch, but he needs to be ridden. Grass hay and cool calories, that’s for sure.”

“I rope on him and ranch and start colts on him,” Clayton said. “He’s always got a stall at my house. (My wife) Kelsey shows his, too, in some boxing classes. He’s got quite a lot of go so maybe when he’s 16 or 17, we’ll see if my boy can start riding him.”

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/603B_NRCHA

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